Friday, April 24, 2009

Breaking Free

(In which it’s all about freedom.)
***

The first class with Susan came after the successful attempt to wake up at an unusually early time with my energy still on its normal level. That means I can still handle a morning class with the same enthusiasm as I do with my afternoon classes. For now.

And since the manager told me to ask Susan regarding the book she wants to study, I didn’t prepare an abstract lesson plan, except for the idea that she wants to study writing. Let’s write. How helpful.

I knew that our class won’t be the usual read-this-write-this type since she speaks and writes well. So what is it about writing that she wants to focus on? There’s no other way to find out but to ask.

“The manager told me you want to study writing.”

“Yeah. You know. I have been writing essays and I think my problem is, I spend so much time! It takes me one hour to write. And then I have to follow the format. The thesis statement and other stuffs. I want to write freely.”

“I see.”

“That’s what my teacher also told me. I spend too much time thinking. And, following the format is okay but it’s hard. I know I need it but I also like to learn to write all my ideas.”

“So you mean you want to study creative writing?”

“Yeah. Something like that.”

“But remember that technical writing or composition is very much different from creative writing. What I will be teaching you might be something really different from what the others are doing because they are two really different things.”

“I understand.”

So I explained how creative writing was done. Then the conversation was led to books, classical novels, poems, debate, taking a stand and literary appreciation. She showed that kind of interest that ignited my own interest in the art. Then there’s a spark.

Now I wanted to get a clearer view of her problems. I gave her a topic that she has mentioned about, which, is supposed to make her choose between two things. There was a short silence and hesitation spread all over her face.

“I usually am having some difficulties with choosing and justifying my choice. I think I need to practice writing about something without being too blunt about refusing to choose the other one. You know what I mean?”

Got it. So I changed the title.

“How about ‘A Fun and Healthy Atmosphere in a Classroom’?”

“Okay.”

So both of us wrote an essay for thirty minutes then we read our essays. It turned out that she really is having problems organizing her thoughts and ideas. There are so many erasures and when I asked them about the potentially wrong sentences that were deleted, it turned out that those are the same sentences that could have made her essay really good. Man, if she has written the ideas that she let to slip, in a manner that is very creative, what a very impressive essay it could have been!

“When an idea comes into your mind, write it. Set your thoughts free. This time, set your mind free. Just write. Do the editing after you have finished writing. Finish your essay at home and don’t forget – just write. We’ll see how it’s different tomorrow.”